The biggest asset you have as a small business owner is time. You may have plenty of meetings to go to or clients to see, but you'll always be short of time.
Even if you have time on your hands, it shouldn't be spent building a website. There are much more important tasks to get done like building out your Customer Relations Database (CRM) and reaching out to potential new clients.
(If you're stuck with that then stick around because my next blog post will blow your socks off with a CRM Masterclass For Small Business)
The other asset you're probably short of is money. So spending a lot of it building your first small business website isn't going to be the best use of that resource either.
No Time, No Money.
How are you going to impress your customers with a puny website design budget?
There Are Two Ways You Can Build Your Website
Have you registered your domain name yet? Read my guide to finding the perfect domain name for domain hunting hints and tips.
This is the same as software that sits on your PC, laptop or the App that lives on your phone. You have an administrator panel to log in and set it all up on a server. The most commonly used software to do this is Wordpress. It's also the easiest to use.
Can I Run It On My Home-Based PC?
You wouldn't set up your Wordpress software on your home PC to share with the world because:
A: It's too complicated to do. Installing LAMP is for Geeks
B: Involves more bandwidth than you'd likely have available
The usual way to use Wordpress is via a hosting company like EZPZ Hosting who provide the hardware platform and bandwidth to run the show. Hosting companies have “racks” of computers in a data centre dedicated to this job. Nearly all have a simple Wordpress installation wizard that you can use to do the software setup for you.
Cloud Based Software
Cloud-based software means you log in from anywhere you have internet access and the software you use to build your website resides “in the cloud”. This software is distributed over many computers (called Content Delivery Networks or CDN's), and for that reason, they deliver blazingly fast speed.
Here's a full list of all the website builders I've reviewed so far. The bad ones don't make it.
The difference between them is how intuitive the administration panel is and how they render your finished website.
Why You Should NOT Use Wordpress
It's free! How can you even think to say that?
Speak to anyone who knows a bit about website design, and they'll tell you straight away that Wordpress is the tool to use to build a new website. They're wrong.
There are times when Wordpress is the best tool to use. Building a new small business website on a budget is not one of them.
The software may be free but your time investment used to make a good looking website most certainly is not. Neither is the time used to keep the software up to date or learn how to add menu pages or install components that make it play SEO friendly or anyone of a hundred other things Wordpress can do.
Do you want to be a website designer or run a business?
Wordpress is great for people who have the time and money to turn it into something that looks good and is functional. But for everyone else who wants to get on with the business of running a company, there are much better options to get started quickly. Don't drain your valuable time by spending it working on a website. People who tell you Wordpress is free overlook the time you have to invest to make it look presentable.
Using An Online, Website Builder
There are three types of online website builder that will build a small business website for you quickly and with minimal outlay.
Here's a quick summary followed by my recommendation.
Basic Website Builders usually come with your domain or hosting package. They usually are not very good.
GoDaddy has recently upgraded their website builder, and it comes with full drag and drop functionality, so it is very easy to use. But it's also not very advanced, and you'd only consider this if you had time on your hands but no money at all.
Read my GoDaddy Website Builder Review if you're completely skint.
Advanced Online Website Builders are the tools that will get the job done for you and with a minimum of fuss. They are designed to make building your website as simple as possible while producing something that doesn't look like it was made in your back bedroom.
Weebly and Wix are excellent but Wix is easily best, and that's what I recommend you use for your first small business website.
Read my detailed reviews for my pick of the best website builders:
eCommerce Website Builders are the tools for building an eCommerce website. Shopify is hands down the best solution to use for a new small business.
Because it works. It does what it says on the tin. You can be up and running with a new eCommerce store in hours. Not wading about in code for days or even weeks on end.
Have you ever been to a shop and stood staring at all the products on the shelves for what seems an eternity? Then you start comparing features before asking the clueless assistant to help you decide what to buy? After you've owned the product for a week or so you don't give it a second thought or worry if there's something better on the market. Making the decision to do something is the hard part.
There are good and bad products in every market. If you want to build an eCommerce website save yourself a lot of time and use Shopify. If you outgrow it use Data Migration Software and migrate to Lemonstand.
Use Wix To Build Your First Small Business Website
Wix is my small business website builder of choice because:
A: It's very easy to use
B: There are some great templates to choose from
C: The finished product looks fabulous
D: Build your small business website for only £7.76 per month
Did you know? Wix uses parts of Wordpress as it's core base. It also makes much better-looking sites than Wordpress in a fraction of the time.
When you consider that the average Wordpress site works out at around £1,000 (at the bottom end) the £7.76 per month for a Wix site is good value. Keep your money in the bank or put it to better use.
However to produce something that looks good I recommend you get someone to build it for you.
Use an online website builder and get someone else to do the work?
Technology evolves in cycles.
Once we had the printing press, and only experienced typesetters could produce newsletters and flyers.
Then Pagemaker came along and changed all that. Its cheap clone – Serif Pageplus meant that anyone with a DX2-66 computer could produce a brochure and laser print it.
The problem was this: putting technology in the hands of the users meant that although they COULD produce their own material it didn't mean they SHOULD produce it.
Most people who created newsletters, flyers and brochures around that era made a right pig's ear of the design. Me included. Non-designers have no concept of “white space” and try to pack in as much as they possibly can into small areas making a right dog's breakfast of it.
An experienced designer can make the world of difference between something that looks good and something that looks great. You've saved a ton of cash by not getting a Wordpress site built, use a small portion of that saving to get your Wix website looking the best it can be.
Just because you CAN build an online website doesn't mean you SHOULD. You'll probably make a mess of it.
There are hundreds of freelance website designers who specialise in Wix in the Wix designer directory. Get a professional to do the job for you.
What Can You Build With A Wix Website?
Setup the Wow factor with these easy to use click and drop features
There are hundreds of Wix templates in the directory and they just recently released another 17 fantastic looking designs. Whether you want a website to showcase your portfolio, your cookery skills or that fantastic new small business idea of yours you'll find a template you can use as the base for your website.
Time was when all Wix websites looked the same, and you were handicapped by the lack of font choices. Not anymore, although they still don't have the functionality to integrate with Google Fonts, you can upload fonts of your choice to give your site its own unique identity.
Parallax Scrolling And Animations
You have to be careful here because overdoing the features can make your website look ridiculous.
Parallax scrolling is a website design technique whereby the background and foreground are treated as two separate objects. When you scroll down the background and foreground move at two different speeds creating a sense of depth and motion. It gives your website a stunning look and improves customer engagement. See the video below.
Finding a slide show component that integrates flawlessly with Wordpress is a challenge, to say the least. The Wix Slideshow Feature will showcase your images, upcoming products or showcase your art with style. Best of all its available by just clicking the “add” button and choosing the slide show option. What could be easier?
Make it easy for people to share and remember your web pages by giving them unique names. With Wix, you can rename any page to the exact name you'd like it to be. Contrast that with some content management systems which make naming or renaming pages incredibly difficult.
Planning a new product launch or professional event? Simply create a new event and add it to your website. Then send great looking invitations and manage your guest list all in one place. It's the type of feature you'd spend an inordinate amount of time (and money) adding to Wordpress but with Wix its simple.
These are just some of the features that make Wix such a good choice for your first small business website. Add to that the blogging capability, mobile optimised, beautiful image galleries and the overall ease of use and you'll see why I rate it so highly.
Will I Grow Out Of Wix?
At some point in the future you may want to change your template, and if that happens at the moment you are – well frankly, shafted. There is no way to change from one template to another without starting all over again. So choose wisely Grasshopper.
If you want to start blogging seriously (i.e. producing two or three or more blog posts a week) then you'd be better off starting with Wordpress. After all, that's what it was designed for in the first place. But for artists, authors; bands; photographers and any small business where you only need a few pages then Wix is perfect.
And at the rate of progress online website builder technology is making you'll probably never need to move anyway.
Want to read more about Wix? Here's my full Wix Website Builder Review. Can over 90 Million users all be wrong?